Even the youngest battle cancer
April 14, 2011 at 4:14 a.m.
2011 Victoria County Relay for Life Honorees
Wendy Gonzales, 39, breast cancer
Lawrence Onken, 68, colorectal cancer
Amber Ragsdale, 4, pelvic cancer
Janie Garcia, breast cancer, died 2008
Dr. James Hayes, pancreatic cancer, died 2011
Linda Koliba, leukemia, died 2006
2011 Victoria County Relay For Life
Coleto Creek Park, April 29-30
(Entry into the park requires a wristband)
Schedule of Events
3 p.m. - Park opens
4-5:45 p.m. - Survivor registration
4:30-5:45 p.m. - Victoria College Jazz Band, main stage
6 p.m. - Opening Ceremonies, main stage
6:15 p.m. - Honoree recognition ceremony, main stage
6:45 p.m. - Survivor Lap, track
7 p.m. - Caregiver Lap, track
7 p.m. - Survivor Celebration, Survivor Tent
7:15 p.m. - Team Captain's lap, track
7:30 p.m. - Teams lap, track
7:45 p.m. - "Relay Queen" Pageant Contestants introduced, main stage
8 p.m. - Fight back ceremony, main stage
8:30 p.m. - Luminaria Ceremony, main stage
9 p.m.-midnight - Rhythm of the Road, main stage
Midnight - Fight back pledge, main stage
12:30 a.m. - Relay Queen winner announced, main stage
1-5 a.m. - County Line, main stage
5:45 a.m. - Closing Ceremony, main stage
For more information or to volunteer call 361-578-2840.
Amber Ragsdale giggled as she playfully ran from twin brother Tyler in her Victoria County backyard.
Blonde curls flying, Amber laughed again as the duo, who turned 4 on April 6, continued to play.
But less than two years ago, times weren't quite as cheerful as Amber was diagnosed with cancer.
Amber is one of the six honorees for the 15th annual Victoria County Relay for Life, April 29 at Coleto Creek Park, 365 Coleto Creek Park Road.
It was Amber's demeanor, her mother Kim Ragsdale believes, that helped her get through that battle that started in November 2009.
"Fortunately she was so young, I don't think she understood," Ragsdale said. "She was the best sport about it. She went through everything without crying."
"Everything" included a tumor, discovered after being sent to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston following worsening abdominal pain.
The malignant teratoma, a type of germ cell tumor, in her pelvic area required a nine-hour surgery to remove.
"We were scared, of course. Devastated," said Ragsdale, who along with her husband of nine years Billy Ragsdale also have a third child, Nathan, 6. "After the surgery we felt confident there was none of the tumor left. We felt better knowing it was treatable."
That treatment included three cycles of chemotherapy that started about a month after the surgery. Amber continues to go back to the hospital every few months for a CT scan and blood work.
"The prognosis is excellent," her mother said.
Despite her battle, Amber keeps being Amber.
"She loves to color. She loves to watch cartoons and movies," said her mother. "And she loves to play outside with her brother."
This year, 65 teams are taking part in the relay.